Marilyn Madigan

Place of birth: Cleveland, Ohio.

What is your profession? Retired Registered Nurse.

How do you celebrate your Irishness? Through my participation in Irish Organizations and traveling to Ireland.

Name a hero you admire and why? John F. Kennedy When he challenged us at his Inauguration with these words: “Ask not what America can do for you but what you can do for America".

Something people would be surprised to know about me... Shy and sensitive.

Biography: Marilyn is proud of her Irish and Catholic heritage as an active member of Cleveland's Irish Community with memberships in Irish American Club East Side, Irish Northern Aid, Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, United Irish Societies, and the West Side Irish American Club. She was a member of the Cleveland Comhaltas, Galic Society, Irish Music Academy of Cleveland and the Cleveland Feis. Marilyn has served in many leadership positions: Board Member, Vice-President of the Irish Music Academy, Treasurer of Cleveland Comhaltas, Board Trustee of the West Side Irish American Club and Co Chair of the Ohio Irish Festival. She has volunteered for many years at the Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival and with the Irish American Archives Society at the Annual Walks of Life event. She is currently a columnist with the iIrish News, a Deputy Director of the United Irish Societies, and the National President of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians.

      Her Hibernian activities started when she joined the LAOH Division 5 in Cleveland, Ohio in 1977. For the past 47 years, she has been a very active member serving in many offices on the Division, County and State levels. In 2003, she was honored to be elected Ohio State President. The LAOH is based on many important traditions with the Degree Ceremony one of the most cherished. Proud to be founding member of the Ohio State Degree Team, she has served as the Treasurer and Guardian. In 1988 when Cleveland hosted the National Convention, she served on the local committee. Marilyn served as National Fundraiser 2012-2014, and was elected to the National Board as Irish Historian in 2014 and continued to serve in all higher offices and now serves as National President.

      Marilyn is passionate about the study of Irish, Irish American and LAOH History. She loves to share that history with others. She was very proud and honored to be serving as National Irish Historian during the Centennial of the Easter Rising. Marilyn has been very diligent and enthusiastic in promoting the Women of 1916 in the cause of Irish Freedom as well as remembering the women involved with the Good Friday Agreement with the publication of Trasna na nTonnta Across the Waves Women’s Reflections on the Good Friday Agreement.   One of her highlights of being a Hibernian was the celebration of our 125th Anniversary and being asked to Speak on our history at the Dinner. She was truly honored to participate in 2 events at the Cooper Union in New York City the first to commemorate the Good Friday Agreement at 25 and recently at the Irish Unity Summit.      

        One of Marilyn’s heroes is President John F. Kennedy, and to paraphrase Marilyn will ask “Ask not what the Hibernians or your Community can do for you- Ask what Marilyn Madigan can do for the Hibernians and your  Community”.  Marilyn has shown her dedication as a hard worker. She is a credit to the important work that the Irish Community does and has been recognized for her contributions. In 1994, the United Irish Societies honored her by being named Co Chair of the St. Patrick's Day Parade. The Boland Berry Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians selected her as their 2002 Hibernian of the Year, usually this honor rotates between the AOH and LAOH. In 2019, she was honored to be Inducted into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame and humbled to receive the Irish American Peace Award by the Irish National Caucus.

       Her parents nurtured her strong faith. As a lifelong Parishioner of St. Patrick West Park, she took a stand against the closing of her parish community.  Her most celebrated accomplishment has been the successful Hierarchical Recourse to the Congregation of the Clergy-Marilyn Madigan for the Parish of St Patrick-West Park. After the Parish was reopened, she served as Parish Council President.

     In her professional career, Marilyn received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St. John College. She started her career in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and continued for 38 years as an Advanced Clinical Nurse in the Department of Operative Services. In 2018, she retired after 41 years of service at University Hospital Cleveland Medical Center.

2024 Heroes of Irish America Awards